‘Station 19’ Season 7 Premiere Recap & Showrunners Q&A: Andy Takes Captaincy As Feelings Smolder Among Exes

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SPOILER ALERT: The following reveals major plot points from the Station 19 Season 7 premiere.

Station 19 returned tonight, airing the Season 7 premiere titled “This Woman’s Work,” and as everyone knows, this will be the final season of the firefighter drama created by Stacy McKee.

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As sad as that is, let’s look at the positives, shall we? There are nine episodes left after the premiere, and there’s a whole journey ahead of us — and it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Speaking of bumpy, Jack (Grey Damon) is in a really bad way as the episode opens with him in surgery. Andie (Jaine Lee Ortiz) — on her first official day as Captain — of course is there with him when Grey Sloane’s Amelia Shepard (Caterina Scorsone) steps out to share an update, and the news is good overall. Amelia revealed that they had to remove a piece of his skull to get at the hematoma, and they successfully removed it. Phew! But he might not be out of the woods yet as his body needs time to recover. As all this is playing out, the ghost of Jack Gibson is floating around watching the whole thing play out.

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Elsewhere in the hospital, Carina (Stefania Spampinato) is caring for a baby boy who just lost his mother, and boy does it look like this little one has found its way into the arms of someone wanting a child more than anything. Carina’s wife Maya (Danielle Savre) is by her side as they also discuss buying a house together so they can start fresh after all the drama that played out last season.

Danielle Savre, left, and Stefania Spampinato in ‘Station 19’ season opener “This Woman’s Work” (ABC)
Danielle Savre, left, and Stefania Spampinato in ‘Station 19’ season opener “This Woman’s Work” (ABC)

Later, it’s revealed that Jack has encephalomalacia, scarring in his brain from previous traumatic injuries. He may have lost some fine motor skills on his left side, Amelia tells Andy, who is stunned and wondering if he will be OK. Amelia can’t give her the firm answer she needs, but it’s hopeful with some physical therapy. But the doctor explains that football and hockey players with brains that look like Jack’s go on to develop CTE. While there’s a possibility for improvement, Jack still might not be able to work as a firefighter again.

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Travis (Jay Hayden) has been enjoying a romance with his campaign manager Eli (Rob Heaps) — remember the one who had a major crush on Andy? — but Emmett (Lachlan Buchanan) has come back into Travis’ life following his father’s death. Emmett is a wreck, but Travis seems to help him find some comfort in knowing that his dad loved him. Before long, he also found comfort in his ex’s arms.

Jay Hayden in ‘Station 19’ season opener “This Woman’s Work” (ABC)
Jay Hayden in ‘Station 19’ season opener “This Woman’s Work” (ABC)

To close, not only is Natasha (Merle Dandridge) keeping her job as Fire Chief, but the rule against dating firefighters is being eliminated. Also, baby boy Liam’s adoption plans fell through, so Maya and Carina now are considering starting a family much earlier than anticipated.

Deadline spoke with showrunners Zoanne Clack and Peter Paige about tonight’s episode and what’s ahead for the remainder of the season.

DEADLINE: Let’s kick off this conversation with Jack, please. He’s had a pretty tragic life, and now his life is hanging in the balance. What can we expect from his story?

ZOANNE CLACK: We all love the character of Jack, and we love that in the premiere were able to put him and Andy back together — kind of in this face-to-face for the two of them with echoes of the pilot and early Season 1. He’s part of the family.

PETER PAIGE: I think it’s worth mentioning that something that doesn’t get talked about quite enough in all the fire shows is that there’s a ticking clock on the firefighters’ careers. It is a career you choose out of passion and one that can come to an end at any time. We talk about it with ballet dancers and with some other careers, but we don’t talk about firefighters enough. It’s a very real part of choosing to be of service to your community in that way, and it was important for us to look at.

DEADLINE: The elephant in the room is that Dixon is finally dead. What does the Station 19 future look like without him?

PAIGE: Just remember, be careful what you wish for. A vacuum will get filled, and Dixon’s death creates a vacuum. Do not think that the challenges have gone in the ground with his body.

DEADLINE: He was so poisonous.

CLACK: We’re glad you appreciate that.

PAIGE: I want to say in this forum, Pat Healy is amazing, and a lovely actor. Telling him that we were killing him off was pretty brutal. But that being said, Zoanne and I both felt like it was time for some new evil in our universe. I will tell you that politicians are gonna politician. We wanted to explore other ways that politicians can undermine people’s best intentions.

DEADLINE: Now that Ross has her job back, what does the future look like for her?

CLACK: It’s a lot of what Peter just said. It’s the push and pull of what you have to give to get something. This season, you’ll see how Ross is dealing with that. She’s an amazing character and an amazing actress. We are so happy to be able to play with her on the show and give her some really meaty things to dig into, like who she is personally and professionally. There will be some strife, back and forth, between the power makers.

PAIGE: Nothing in politics comes free. Natasha keeping her job comes with a price, which will be explored in great detail throughout Season 7.

DEADLINE: Could we see another Sullivan wedding?

PAIGE: We can neither confirm nor deny.

DEADLINE: With the series ending, did you miss out on telling any stories you wanted to?

PAIGE: We had a lot of stories we wanted to do, some of which went away when we heard it was the last season. But one of the first things we did was we brought all the cast in and we said, “What do you need to feel resolved about this journey you’ve been on?” They’ve been with the show longer than either of us, and they’ve been with these characters in an incredibly intimate way. Interestingly, about 95% of what they said we already had on the board, but there were a few little gems. We’re trying to honor their journeys as artists and what they’ve contributed to the series, and we’re trying to honor the fan hunger as best we can without letting it entirely dictate the storytelling. We’re trying to honor what Station 19 means both as a fire station in Seattle and as a television series in the universe.

DEADLINE: There are at least two characters that could go back to Grey’s Anatomy, Carina and Ben (Jason George). Anything to report on that front?

CLACK: [Shrugs]

PAIGE: I have an emoji I can send you. … You know we can’t answer that.

DEADLINE: Can you share anything on Carina and May’s relationship? They went through so much last year.

PAIGE: They had a really rough Season 6. They went on a big, hard, difficult ride, but they hung in there, and they found their way back to each other. And Season 7 is about what is moving forward. How do they as a couple move forward with their dreams for their life?

CLACK: And they solidify the things that they’ve learned and what they’ve come through and how it evolves in their relationship.

DEADLINE: The inclusion of Maya’s mental health struggles last season and that it’s OK to ask for help was very powerful.

PAIGE: Yes, looking back, you will not find anyone who works in or around Station 19 who doesn’t believe in the power of healing and therapy as a tool. Props to Krista Vernoff, who was who was steering the ship last season, and as one of her closest friends, I can tell you that like she is always working on herself and inspires all of her friends and all of those surrounding her to work on ourselves as well. I hope that the takeaway for fans is if Maya Bishop — who was in that much pain, who had that messed up childhood — can find her way to some healing and can change, then I’ll be damned if I can’t too. There are tools out there now for getting help, and the therapy modalities are changing by the minute and improving so much.

CLACK: I think it speaks to our charge of doing inclusive storytelling, and mental health is just part of health. And we tell a lot of healthcare stories, being first responders, and it is just part of what we do. Everyone has a story about mental health or what they’re going through.

DEADLINE: Any chance Miguel Sandoval could pop in this season for a little flashback?

PAIGE: I will only say his presence is very much with us this season.

DEADLINE: Lastly, any chance we will lose anyone this season?

PAIGE: Firefighting is a very dangerous career, so there’s always a chance.

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